Coronavirus has spread to some 80 nations with the UK in grips about a possible epidemic. The World Health Organisation has warned of a global shortage and hiking of prices for protective equipment to help fight the deadly virus. Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer issued a statement which read: “As of 9:00am this morning 32 further patients in England have tested positive for COVID-19. 29 patients were diagnosed who had recently travelled from recognised countries or from recognised cluster which were under investigation.”
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Symptoms of the coronavirus include having a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath.
One of the first things that the World Health Organisation have strongly recommended on their online resources is the importance of washing your hands in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Centers for Disease Control said on their website: “Individuals can practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, staying home when sick and covering coughs and sneezes.”
Why is hand washing so important and when are three instances when it’s crucial?
Washing hands with soap has been described as an “amazing weapon”.
The reason why is because the coronavirus is an “enveloped” virus, meaning it has an outer lipid membrane layer or a fatty layer as its sometimes called.
When people wash their hands with soap and water they are dissolving the greasy fatty layer and in turn killing the virus.
It’s been recommended by leading health experts to wash your hands for the duration of singing Happy Birthday twice.
What the UK government advises
A campaign has been launched by Gov.uk on hand washing.
The phase of the campaign focuses on the importance of washing hands.
Gov.uk said on their website: “Washing hands for 20 seconds is central to the expanded public awareness campaign to prevent and slow the spread of coronavirus.
“You should wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water or hand sanitiser.”
The three times when it’s even more crucial to be washing your hands include:
- When you get to work or arrive home
- After you blow your nose, cough or sneeze
- Before you eat or handle food
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The first phase of the campaign began last month, in response to the rising number of confirmed cases of coronavirus globally and in the UK.
The NHS, Public Health England and local authority public health across the country are working hard to support everyone in need of advice, testing or treatment.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock added: “The UK is a world-leader in preparing for and managing disease outbreaks and I have every confidence in our nation’s ability to respond to the threat of COVID-19.
“We all have a role to play in stopping this disease and that’s what this expanded campaign is all about – making sure the public knows exactly what they should be doing to keep themselves and others safe.
“Washing hands regularly is the single most important thing that an individual can do.”
Karen Fleming from John Hopkins University added: “When viruses are enveloped, it means that they have an outermost wrapper that’s basically a fatty, greasy outer covering.
“And we all know that soaps and detergents can dissolve grease, so that means soap/detergents can also dissolve the outer viral envelopes of coronavirus like COVID-19.”
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